For the second consecutive week, Chicago Fire forward Andy Herron was selected as the Honda MLS Player of the Week by the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA) for the week ending Oct. 2 (Week 27). Herron, who has since joined the Costa Rican National Team for World Cup qualifying duty, followed his two-goal performance in his first start, with another two-goal outburst as the injury depleted Fire came back twice from deficits to pull off a 3-3 tie against the Columbus Crew in a sold-out Crew Stadium on Saturday night to move one step closer to securing an MLS Cup Playoff spot.
After Columbus took a 2-1 lead on a 55th minute goal, it took Chicago just four minutes to find the equalizer when the Crew had difficulty clearing the ball out of their own defensive end. Herron corralled a poor clearance and curled a powerful shot into the upper corner of the net from outside the area that Crew goalkeeper Jon Busch had no chance to stop.
"He's a real forward and he came through huge for us tonight," said Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan. "We're obviously pleased to have him. He goes to Costa Rica next week (for international duty), so the timing is not good, but he's been great for us in the games he's been with us."
The Fire battled back to tie the game again in the 80th minute. A long free kick into the Crew area was headed on by Fire defender Jim Curtin to teammate Scott Buete, who in turn flicked it on to Herron in the heart of the area. The 26-year old headed the ball over defender Robin Fraser to himself, before again finishing clinically and giving Busch no chance to save as the Fire grabbed a vital point in their bid to claim an MLS Cup Playoff spot.
"I just work for my team and work for the guys and try to score on all the opportunities I have," added Herron. "That's been my mentality since I've come to Chicago and I think if I keep on working like this we'll get into the playoffs."
Herron becomes the sixth player in MLS history to win the award in back-to-back weeks, joining teammate Ante Razov (Weeks 7 and 8 - 2000) and most recently, Colorado Rapids' midfielder Mark Chung (Weeks 10 and 11 - 2002). Herron is currently with the Costa Rican National Team for World Cup qualifiers this week and will miss the Fire's rematch against the Crew on Wednesday night at Soldier Field.
D.C. United defender Ezra Hendrickson and Columbus Crew forward Jeff Cunningham also received votes for the weekly award. The Honda Major League Soccer Player of the Week is selected every week throughout the MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA).
2004 PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNER
Week 1: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
Week 2: Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 3: Fabian Taylor (MetroStars)
Week 4: Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 5: Henry Ring (Chicago Fire)
Week 6: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 7: Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 8: Alejandro Moreno (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 9: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 10: Pat Noonan (New England Revolution)
Week 11: Jeff Cunningham (Columbus Crew)
Week 12: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)
Week 13: Amado Guevara (MetroStars)
Week 14: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards)
Week 15: Jeff Cassar (Dallas Burn)
Week 16: Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 17: Brad Davis (Dallas Burn)
Week 18: Edson Buddle (Columbus Crew)
Week 19: Brian Mullan (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 20: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
Week 21: Kyle Martino (Columbus Crew)
Week 22: Ronnie O'Brien (Dallas Burn)
Week 23: Ross Paule (Columbus Crew)
Week 24: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)
Week 25: Edson Buddle (Columbus Crew)
Week 26: Andy Herron (Chicago Fire)
Week 27: Andy Herron (Chicago Fire)